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spacer New Jersey Office of the Attorney General
New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety
Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General

Official News Release


 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2003
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Paul Loriquet
(609) 292-4791


 
STATEWIDE CRIME DOWN FOUR PERCENT

- Bias Crime Dips 23 Percent -

     TRENTON Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today released the 2002 Uniform Crime Report that shows that overall crime in New Jersey has dropped by four percent, while violent crime decreased by two percent and non-violent crime fell by five percent compared to 2001 crime statistics. The largest decrease, however, occurred in bias crimes, which saw a 23 percent decline.

     The annual crime report, prepared by the State Police Uniform Crime Reporting unit, measures crime during the period of January 1 through December 31, 2002. The report also contains separate statistical reports on car jacking, bias crimes and domestic violence.

     "The overall decrease in crime is a real reflection on every man and woman in law enforcement. It underscores their commitment to fight crime on a day-to-day basis to ensure the safety of each citizen and community," Harvey said.

     "Our goal in law enforcement is to continue the commitment to reduce crime by working harder and smarter. We in law enforcement will continue to attack the criminal element, whether it involves stopping the flow of drugs into our communities, gang violence, or the less violent, but equally pernicious crimes of insurance fraud, computer crime or other white-collar schemes," said the Attorney General.

     Governor James E. McGreevey said he was encouraged by the drop in crime and praised the work of all law enforcement.

     "Communities have an expectation to live in a crime free environment, and I am proud that the hard work by all of those in law enforcement - local, county and state - are making neighborhoods a safer place in which to live and raise a family," said Governor McGreevey.

     In 2002, the number of crimes reported statewide declined by four percent from 2001 crime statistics. There were 261,080 crimes reported last year, compared with 273,201 crimes in 2001. Index crimes included the seven most significant crime categories designated by the Federal Uniform Crime system: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

     The number of bias crimes reported in 2002 was 625, twenty-three percent fewer than the 815 bias offenses reported in 2001, and the lowest number recorded in more than a decade. The Attorney General noted that the Office of Bias Crimes, which has been in place since 1989, has been aggressive in their outreach program to various community leaders and groups and provides numerous other programs and aid, including educational programs. He also said that the stronger prison sentences for bias crime convictions are potential reasons for the large decline.

     According to the report, the number of violent crimes declined by two percent, from 32,957 to 32,286. The individual crime categories report the following statistics:

  • murder remained the same at 2001 341;
  • rape increased six percent, from 1,277 to 1,348;
  • robbery decreased one percent, from 14,112 to 13,987;
  • aggravated assault decreased four percent, from 17,227 to 16,610;
  • burglary decreased six percent, from 46,768 to 44,035;
  • larceny-theft decreased four percent, from 155,825 to 148,918;
  • motor vehicle theft decreased five percent, from 37,651 to 35,841.

     The report also revealed that crime was reduced in all areas of the state. Urban crime decreased by five percent, while suburban crime fell five percent and rural decreased by three percent. Nationally, violent crime fell by one percent, while within the Northeast region violent and non-violent crime fell by three percent.

     The number of overall offenses committed by juveniles decreased by two percent. Non-violent offenses decreased by 2.2 percent, from 9,886 in 2001 to 9,671 in 2002. Violent offenses remained almost the same, with 3,356 recorded in 2001 compared to 3,352 last year.

     Domestic violence offenses reported in 2002 decreased three percent from 2001. There were 79,844 offenses recorded in 2002 compared with 82,373 in 2001. However, murders related to domestic violence increased by 30 percent. Fifty-two murders were reported in 2002, while 40 homicides were recorded 2001.

     In 2002 there were 56,746 arrests for drug violations, a two percent increase over 2001, when 55,451 drug arrests were made. Fifty-five percent (31,336) of all drug abuse arrests were for opium or cocaine and their derivatives.

     There were 3,296 assaults on police, an increase of 1 percent compared to 2001, when 3,253 officers were assaulted.

     A complete copy of the 2002 Uniform Crime Report is available on the State Police Web site at http://www.njsp.org/info/ucr2002/index.html and the stats specifically are at http://njsp.org/info/stats.html .


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